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Deferring the Self

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Szymon Wrobel

This book is a result of studies on psychoanalysis, politics, and art. The topics in this book range from populism, the limits of the political, identity, melancholy, the peculiarity of psychoanalytical interpretation to the connection of theatre and politics. Psychoanalysis is a form of practicing personal truth, which needs to be one’s own and which is not a result of anonymous discourse. Politics is the practice of being with others; it is the cultivation of antagonistic relations with others. Art is the practice aiming at giving one’s life the mark of something unique, it is the very practice of life.

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Introduction: Practicing the Humanities

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[…] if one considers accident as unworthy of determining our fate, it is only a relapse to the pious aspect of life, the overcoming of which Leonardo himself prepared when he put down in writing that the sun does not move. We are naturally grieved over the fact that a just God and a kindly providence do not guard us better against such influences in our most defenseless age. We thereby gladly forget that as a matter of fact everything in our life is accident from our very origin through the meeting of spermatozoa and ovum, accident, which nevertheless participates in the lawfulness and fatalities of nature, and lacks only the connection to our wishes and illusions. The division of life’s determinants into the “fatalities” of our constitution and the “accidents” of our childhood may still be indefinite in individual cases, but taken altogether one can no longer entertain any doubt about the importance of precisely our first years of childhood. We all still show too little respect for nature, which in Leonardo’s deep words recalling Hamlet’s speech “is full of infinite reasons which never appeared in experience”. Sigmund Freud1 The author is the principle of thrift in the proliferation of meaning. […] The author is therefore the ideological figure by which one marks the manner in which we fear the proliferation of meaning. Michel Foucault2 A rhetorical critic can regard a defense as a concealed trope. A psychoanalytical interpreter can regard a trope as a concealed defense. An antithetical critic will...

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